Behind the YouTube Scenes

As I set the Songs for Libby launch aside for a bit, I managed to record a video for my YouTube channel yesterday. I haven’t done that since COVID came on the scene. The video isn’t long, and there wasn’t much postproduction required for it, but I barely managed to finish it in the 2+ hours when all my kids were in school.

I want my videos to look nice. Of course I do. But to get all the lighting and sound dialed in, as well as a pretty background, it takes some finagling.

Let me demonstrate. This is the background that you see in the video I just published:

Then I zoomed out a bit. You can see my lighting rig (called a ring) and you get a glimpse of my microphone hiding behind it.

Zoom out more and it starts to get really *lovely. 🙂 You can see the lower shelves that I didn’t bother to make pretty because they weren’t in the shot, as well as the huge stack of book balanced on top of a side table. I used this to perch my laptop on it, so that I could check my notes while I recorded.

And so that you can better see my microphone—as well as truly appreciate how impressive my book stack was:

Soon out a little more and you see the entire office. The trash can. The random junk sitting around. It’s all very glamorous. And I’m a little surprised that there are no dolls laying around. One point for me!

If you’d like to appreciate all my hard work, you should go check out the video!

And if you’d really like to appreciate my REALLY hard work, this is your reminder to please go pre-order Songs for Libby so that it will be auto-delivered to your Kindle when it releases on October 15th.

Book Highlights

You guys, I ended up picking up this book even though I hadn’t read this author before, and it is So Stinkin’ CUTE! I haven’t quite finished, but I’ve really loved it so far. It’s a regency inspired by twelfth night, which means a girl masquerading as a boy and falling for the man she’s helping who thinks she’s a man. Gah! It’s so cute.

True of Heart by Martha Keyes:

An Ode to Reviews

(Not actually an Ode)

I’m coming up on a launch. Songs for Libby releases on October 15 and is up for pre-order now. That means that I’m going to be putting out my hands to beg for reviews as soon as it’s out.

I think a lot of people think that in order to leave a review, you have to be a “good reviewer.” For the record, anyone who bothers to review something is a good reviewer in my book. You don’t have to do a special intro to the book before you give your opinion. It doesn’t have to be long. You don’t have to cover every aspect of what you did and didn’t like. If all you want to say in your review is, “I really liked this one,” that’s great! You can write as much or as little as you want. No one is out their judging your reviews (unless you are a professional reviewer, but that’s different).

To demonstrate my point. I want to share one of my favorite reviews with you. Here it is:

One may ask WHY this would be a favorite of mine. It’s not even five stars! It’s not a glowing review. Why in the world would it be a favorite?

Ahem:

Number One! Honesty. She likes her romance dirty and isn’t afraid to say so.

Number Two! Because my book isn’t steamy (like she prefers), she took off one star. That’s totally legitimate. If some aspect of the book makes it so that it just isn’t your cup of tea, you can (and should) take off a star. Removing one star because she didn’t like one aspect is perfect. She didn’t say, “Ugh. It was clean, so I hated it. I’ll give it one star!” No, she gave credit where credit was due.

Number Three! She made me laugh. The bookshelf at the bottom that I circled—”hand-cuff-me-hot-cop”—makes me laugh every time. Glad you liked my hot cop character, Jae!

So, for anyone who finds review writing intimidating, I hope this helps.

And if you’d like to be part of my street team and help me with early reviews, please join my Fan Group on Facebook and read through the posts there.

Weekly Book Highlights:

I read this collection of three novellas years ago, and I still go back once in a while to reread one or two of them. I really love all three, though What’s in a Name is my favorite.

This is part of an interesting collaborative project. It’s a series of six books where there is something that happens in the previous book that impacts the next book, even though each book had different characters and is written by a different author. They’re on the shorter side, but they’re all sweet and fun.

Wanna See My New Book?

Shall we have a cover reveal? I think we shall.

My approach for this cover was different than any of my others. For each of my other books I’ve been able to come up with a pretty solid concept of what I wanted the cover to be. I always had a jumping off point that I could work with and develop until I reached the point where I knew enough of what I wanted that I could convey it to my husband and he could put it together for me.

For this book, I just could not see it, any of it. I had no vision for this cover. I couldn’t even think of a concept photo shoot that I would want to do. I had nothin’.

I decided I needed a cover artist, someone who had not only the photoshop know-how, but also the creative vision. A cover artist was recommended to me, and by sheer luck, she had one opening in July that I was able to snag so that I didn’t have to wait until September to get on her calendar. *huge sigh of relief*

That opening happened to be over the 4th of July, so I was up in the mountains around Cascade with limited cell service, but I was able to communicate back and forth with her enough that we (really she) got the job done! She was so good at coming up with concepts, giving me lots of different options, and working with my vague feedback. Finally, she hit upon the perfect concept and it was easy peazy to get it perfect from there.

The Blurb:

Libby and Sean have been best friends for years. Libby was there to help him climb the ladder of success, but now that Sean has made it big in the music industry, he’s fallen into the cliché bad habits of stardom, and Libby is constantly having to pull her delinquent best friend out of trouble. The emotional toll is wearing her down, but she’s afraid that putting herself first will mean leaving Sean to self-destruct.

Eventually, Sean’s recklessness lands him in serious trouble, and Libby is forced to make a heart-breaking decision. Rather than becoming collateral damage to Sean’s fame and addiction, she chooses to save herself…by walking away.

Years later, Libby has lived a lot of life, and instead of being the one to pull Sean out of the darkness, she finds herself in need of rescuing. Can she trust Sean to be there for her, or will allowing him back into her life put her broken heart in greater danger?

Full of heart-wrenching decisions and a friendship with the potential to be so much more, Songs for Libby takes a hard look at what it means to truly love someone, what it takes to restore trust after it’s been all used up, and the joy that comes from fighting the battles that need to be won.

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And THE COVER!

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Isn’t it lovely? I think it so perfectly captures the heart of this book. 💕 📚

It’s listed on Goodreads, so go ahead and add it to your want-to-read shelf!

It’s not up for pre-order yet, because that requires that I commit to a publication date, and I’m not quite ready for that. I am aiming for mid-October, though. So, don’t mark your calendar yet, but you can get your pen out so that when I get over my fear of commitment, you’ll be ready to mark it. 🙂

Book highlights:

I read Duke of Knight by Elizabeth Johns a couple weeks ago. It was a cute an clean regency. It’s $.99.

Evie’s Knight is $.99. I’ve read several of Kimberly’s books and really enjoyed them. This looks like a retelling of Sleeping Beauty.

I Got A Gesture For You!

The first time I met my husband’s father was, shall we say, memorable. My father-in-law was an engineer. Cerebral. Quiet. Logical.

This is me and my man back in the day.

I went to their house to meet the family and we played one of their favorite games. My husband told me beforehand that while his mom would welcome me with an effusive hug and probably ask me to call her mom, his dad would likely just nod, say “nice to meet you” and that would be it.

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Character Driven Plot

I was part of an author panel hosted by Romancing the Capitol. This was their first time having a panel specifically dedicated to Clean Romance Authors and I was so happy to be a part of it. It was live-streamed on YouTube and you can go watch it here.

One of the questions asked was about how we as authors keep our stories new and fresh. That was an easy questions for me to answer because my plots are driven by my characters, and I do my best to make my characters human. There are billions of people on this earth and we all live unique lives because each day is filled with thousands of decisions to be made, both big and small. Each of those decisions will change our course, whether drastically or incrementally.

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Types of Heroes

What’s your hero preference? Do you like to read about silent, mysterious, and brooding men? Do you like a hero with confidence and swagger? Or friendliness and charm? Do you like the nerd? The goofball?

Personally, I tend to go for charm, but I’m also a sucker for a little bit of brooding. A good brood can make for some great tension, so long as it doesn’t cross the line into disrespectful and rude.

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Something a Little Different

How are you, friends? Are you still surviving the craziness of homeschooling (or remote learning, or distance learning or WHATEVER they’re calling it in your town)? Have you found the goodness among the chaos?

I certainly hope all is well in your neck of the woods and that you are being kind to yourself.

As for me, I need to get my bootie into gear and start recording the audio/video version of Missing Lily. That’s on my to-do list for this week.

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